Sharesight raises $2M - thank you customers
This week we announced that we raised over NZD $2M from you, our customers. This result exceeded our expectations, and we consider this a terrific success. From all of us at Sharesight, to all of you who participated, thank you for your support.
The capital raised will go towards further accelerating our growth at home and abroad and to making Sharesight an even more indispensible tool for all investors.
Finding the sweet spot
As many of you know, we sent a survey to clients on our Investor and Expert plans back in September, gauging interest in a possible Sharesight investment. The response was stronger than we anticipated, so we decided to move forward.
Right at the start (and before we knew how much we’d raise), we had to make some tough choices based on what we could realistically manage internally and existing financial law in New Zealand and Australia. For this round, we chose to give first crack to our Investor and Expert plan customers as they represent the initial reason behind the Sharesight idea - a product for self-directed investors.
Due to regulations, however, we were forced to seek investment from those self-directed investors also classified as “professional” investors - a fairly unique combination. To match this, and to keep new shareholder admin manageable, we also had to set a relatively high minimum investment of NZD $50k.
Unfortunately, this meant that we couldn’t engage with non-professional investors, those wanting to invest less than $50k, those on our Free Plan, nor those on the Pro Plans. We wish we could have involved everyone, but our aim in combining the above conditions was to work within the available framework to find highly-motivated, self-directed investors within our client base.
In the future, if equity crowdfunding legislation evolves and we decide to raise additional capital, we’ll certainly consider involving all of our customers.
Hacking a crowdfund
Our goal has long been to somehow invite our own customers to invest in Sharesight - after all, they’re investors who understand our value proposition. We considered outsourcing the raise to a crowdfunding platform, but determined that we could rely on our own technical know-how and communication platform to convey our offer.
To keep the process fair and consistent to those considering investing, we had to keep to strict rules in terms of response deadlines and protocols. This also meant that potential investors buy into and respect the logistics of running an online business with a large user base.
We used many of the same applications to complete the round that we use to run Sharesight on a day-to-day basis: Survey Monkey (surveys), Campaign Monitor (emails), FreshDesk (Q&A forum), GoToMeeting (webinar), and Docusign (signed documents). And who knows, perhaps one day we’ll even use Sharesight to track the shares themselves!
2016 and beyond
Having additional capital is obviously beneficial, but I’m also looking forward to leveraging the expertise of our new investor base. Throughout this process, we met many experienced investors from the world of finance and technology.
As proud as we are of our business, we’re equally excited about this vote of confidence from you, our customers. So thanks to everyone who showed interest in this capital raise, and thanks as always to all our valuable customers. We have big plans for 2016.